Sunday, April 21, 2013

To Rush or not to Rush


I have a habit that loves embarrassing me from time to time. Actually, I had no idea how terrible it was till I started going out on my own. Many moons back, when I was still in school, a friend invited me over for lunch at her place. As soon as her Mom placed the piping hot delicacies in front of me, I jumped on it like an impoverished kid from Somalia. A few gulps later when I raised my head to breathe, I noticed everyone staring at me silently, their expression a mixture of amusement and sympathy.

In my family, when food is placed before us, we jump on it like a pack of hungry wolves, without wasting time in social niceties like waiting for others to start. It is our way of showing that we love Mom’s cooking, even if it is tinda that we’ve been having three days in a row.

So, when thrown in an unfamiliar territory, I did what I did best. I pounced on what was served like my Mom hadn’t fed me for weeks, without bothering to wait for others to start.
Courtesy - Google Images


Old habits are like cockroaches and don’t die easily. Mine decided to haunt me for the rest of my life.

I got married to a man who is my polar opposite. A gentleman who has his hors d’oeuvres with fork and knife, while I prefer a hands down approach….Looks at me with horror when I try to lick the sauce off the knife and gives a pained smile when I drop chopsticks noisily on the floor. He also patiently waits for everyone at the dining table to start before he puts the first morsel in his mouth. The civilized world calls them table manners.

The first time my parents invited their brand new son-in-law, Maa cooked a feast that was enough to feed three ravenous generations. She had immense faith in my cooking abilities and wanted to make sure he didn’t complain of hunger for at least a month. Now before I proceed further with the story, I must acquaint you all with my Ma’s penchant for cardio during mealtimes. In her quest for hot and fresh, she keeps shuffling the dishes and asks anxiously if we have finished dish number 6, so that she can get dish numbers 7 to 10.


No, we are not spoilt brats and she is no doormat who has dedicated her life to servitude. It’s just that her love manifests in many ways and one of them is her concerted efforts at over-feeding us. Ironically, she doesn’t do much for our appetite when she insists we must finish the bhindi and the paneer because it had been lying in the refrigerator for five days.

She is at her hospitable best when we have guests and pretends not to hear them when they scream “no more, we are full” and happily ladles generous portions of fish curry and rice over their hand covering the plate.

Experience has taught me to raise my plate above my head, every time I see my Maa approaching with a ladle.

She was planning to impress her jamai (son-in-law) with the same tactics when she noticed much to her horror that he had yet to start his meal. She gingerly approached him and asked with her brows knit in concern – Is everything okay?

Of course, Maa, I am just waiting for you to join us.

Our “you’re kidding, right!” looks did little to deter goody two-shoes.

When I have cooked something (I have been doing a lot of that lately) I expect it to be finished in all its scalding glory. Funny thing is, when I serve my newest culinary delight with aplomb, the husband suddenly recollects a bunch of things that had to be done and disappears to the other room to send mails, fix faulty gadgets and save battered women in Afghanistan, while I gnash my teeth and wait for him to make an appearance. I try occupying myself by making a tower of sautéed carrots, attempt potato art, till I look at the crispy spinach wilting in the heat, the fragrant coriander drowning in the curry, the melting butter disappearing in the crevices of the rustic bread and can’t take it ANYMORE!

If I am the first to start, I am also the first one to finish. Yes, I am the Usain Bolt of eating. While others are carefully forking the peas inside their mouth, the fillet of chicken is sliding down my oesophagus, looking forward to a happy reunion with the veggies. Don’t expect me to behave like a Masterchef judge, savouring the hint of nutmeg and caressing the smooth velvety texture of the perfectly cooked leg of the chicken with my euphoric tongue! In fact my taste buds gave up on me long time back and have taken to satsang.

I eat fast, drink faster, ethanol or not. Not for me the snootiness of savouring the nose of the wine and elating at its finish. But hey, I still can tell a good wine from a bad one, my current favourite being an Australian pink that chases bystanders. Curiously, my cup will always have a little bit of tea or coffee at the bottom, waiting for deliverance. There must be a lot of hidden psychoanalytical messages there.

After years of accusatory glances, I have finally accepted that I’m too impatient to stand and stare and savour the moment. I am the rabbit in a hurry to reach the finishing line. When I do, I am ready to move on to the next task. My mind always has multiple tabs open and my thoughts keep flitting between them. Leisure maybe pleasure for many but for me it doesn’t work. On the contrary, it makes me dull.

Unlike Aesop’s hare, mine always reaches the finishing line. So what if it didn’t stop to smell the flowers, do a little dance under the shade of the tree and sing a song? But then there are times when the tortoise in me makes me stop in amazement and savour this miracle called life.



108 comments:

  1. He he hee..we are like that only.... to the horror of my Miss Manners wifey...but my elder daughter and me thinks a meal is enjoyed best when it does not get time to spend in plate. When I visit my mom I actually camp in kitchen when she is cooking so that I am the first to....taste everything...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Piping hot and piping fresh tastes the best. Now who will explain this to the plebeians.

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  2. ha ha :D I had this habit years back but I have now learned to slow down. But 'Usain Bolt of eating', this you win hands down :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. To make it worse, my daughter eats at a snail's speed.

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  3. Replies
    1. Not as effortless as eating :-)

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  4. ha ha. you sound like me. But now I have started to eat like >the French< :-) for my own good (need to lose my weight you see).
    I am trying to enjoy every fiber of the carrots in my food. Never did that before. Before this, I was gobbling food as if I have never eaten in my life. (though I maintained unnatural dignity while I was dining outside).
    It has taken 10 years of hard work to gain 20 kilos and I am of the opinion that the only fair way to lose it should be slow and steady way. That is taking 10 more years to lose it :-)
    At home, I never try new recipes, but make same old sambar, rasam, biryani, lemon rice and so on. But my husband acts as if I have served him a sumptuous meal. I sometimes wonder why he is like this?? I mean, is this a strange way of saying 'I need to try something else'? by making me tired of his praises?
    well, I don't know, but as >trust< is a required for a healthy married life, I trust his praises to be genuine :-)
    So wonderfully written Purba :-) Glad I found your blog..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I am so glad you and Kiran found each other. Rare to see a husband like him but I'm sure it has something to do with the woman you are :-)

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  5. So be it. The food needs to be gulped down anyway. Fast or not, who cares. Just get done with it as soon as possible, and go back to your TV or computer, or whatever else you were busy with :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha...you make me sound like such a loser :p

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  6. Wah wah wah....the delhidaredevils need ur lightning speed ...kindly grant em a bit and pull em up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IPL and I are at constant loggerheads.

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  7. Brilliant as always :)

    Sometimes I also get wondered my mom's or masi/pisi's confidence on my eating ability!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you never let them down, right?

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  8. Great read...fortunately or unfortunately, I am same at the dinnertime...nothing and no one can keep me from my dinner :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The great feeling to know that I am not alone!

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  9. I cook, put the food on the table, eat and go away. The family can join me ... or not! I can't wait. It is like that

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  10. Now what can I say! back comes Purba in all her humorous glory - after quite a few serious posts - and reminds me of all the episodes of my life. The number of times my mother has scalded my hand because I dared to cover the plate with it when she was intent on ladling something on; that raising the plate above the head maneuver; the inability to eat with anything other than my fingers and licking right up to the elbow :) and, above all, that pouncing on food the moment it is served - seems to me like we shared the same childhood, bar the fish-curry of course since we were vegetarian :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha...You almost sound relieved!

      Our childhood trauma bears uncanny resemblance and our mothers sound like long lost sisters.

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  11. ha ha :D
    I can't wait either. I often eat before my guests arrive.

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    1. Damn! I wish I could do that! Just to punish them for not turning up on time.

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  12. I am all into savoring every morsel. I love cooking and presenting a beautiful meal with all the right looks. I got an A in table-manners during one of my initial courses in my company. :D
    And I am shocked by your behavior! :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When are you moving in with my husband? You sound like kindred spirits.

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  13. :O Oh God! Why Auntius, Why?! Who are you?! What are you?! Oh, the horror! The horror! *Begins drinking heavily*

    P.S. My sympathies to Mr Ray.
    P.P.S. Funny article

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know na, drinking too much milk will make you look like an Amul Baby?

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  14. Hey, Enjoyed reading. While at some party or in flight , I always used to feel bad about the inrush sooner the dinner is announced for eating or sooner the craft halts for alighting. I don't understand the reason you are invited for dinner and no one will normally allow to leave without it , then why inrush ?/ similarly when craft has reached destination every one has to alight. But now with your write up I gather there is an enjoyment and pleasure derived... That is a solace.

    Thanks .

    M.R.Iyengar

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes Mr Iyengar, I am aware of the joys of savouring but my impatience always gets the better of me.

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  15. Haha...nice post!
    I eat fast too and always end up waiting for my husband to finish up! ;)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. While he takes the longest to finish?

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  16. Hussain Bolt of eating. I so love and as always, you make the post sound so effortless:)
    Vishal
    www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com

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    1. Not as effortless as you think :-)

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  17. good to hear i have company in the 'hare' version of eating... ours though was out of necessity. while working in an operation theatre, somebody would come to relieve us 'for just a few minutes' so we had to rush to the side room, open and devour the contents of the tiffin within 5 minutes without ever attempting to savour the dish or even identify it many a time.. sigh. those were good days :D

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ahha...that sounds so tragic!

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  18. This sounds like my story too! Cant wait after the food is served! And am a quick eater too so it's FIFO for me :)

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  19. I am a quick eater too.

    I remember at my first job, we used to get a food break of 45 minutes and there was a girl in my team who was a complete opposite when it came to 'eating'. While I would be done and out in a precise 10 minutes and eager to spend the rest of the time catching the fresh air outside, she would be , as you'd say ' popping peas in her mouth one by one' and that would upset me so much, I used to imagine myself lifting her plate closer to her chin so she won't take as much time. Now that you get me, its no surprise I often felt like picking up a handful of rice and stuffing it in her mouth myself!! Yes, I am as impatient when it comes to food. Piping hot is definitely the best you can get. Same is with tea/coffee as well. My mom usually jokes about straining it right into my mouth ;P

    I may sound really as wild as this, but guess, that's just me!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. And my daughter prefers having rice with chopsticks! Only you can understand my pain.

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  20. LOL...tell me one thing. Why do you have to wait and think to eat a hot meal? In most of the birthday parties or any other parties here in the US, I am the first one to start eating and pulling the other ladies..Everyone is damn hungry and it would be 2.30 PM already and I donno why the heck will they still keep waiting?
    And at home, as I don't have the luxury to eat in peace with my kids, most of the times, my eating posture is standing near the sink. So, in my last India trip, the whole family stared at me gobbling the food. They are like, who's hurrying you? There's lots of food...:P.
    And one thing that didn't die as I grew older is I put my legs on the sofa or chair..wherever it is...;)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes! it's past 10 at night and the hostess is busy dancing. Your tum is doing somersaults and you are about to faint with hunger. But you are still expected to smile and pretend everything's okay.

      Hrrmp!

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  21. The temptation of good food laid out is too difficult to resist! A crash course in table manners at Naval Academy changed that forever. I think just the experience of that course would need a post to do justice:)

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  22. You remind me of how Coco eats :). I eat when I am hungry, most times before others but why the rush? Arre khana kahin bhaag thode hi jayega. But no attacking the food for me. I love to savor each morsel. By the time, I've finished eating one serving, my husband is on to his third! And when I am entertaining, I do love to serve everyone first :). And good you gave the warning -- looks like only Mr. Ray will get invited to my house :-P.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Isn't Coco your Labrador? o_O
      This is how God plans couples. He gets us married to a person who's our exact opposite.

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    2. Yes, he is and any food you give him, he polishes off within seconds. His bowl never needs to be cleaned :-).

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  23. Your mother sounds exactly like my mother and granny. To them happiness is all about feeding (read over feeding)others. I too am a quick eater. When the family has sat together for lunch or dinner, by the time others put their first morsel in mouth, I would have finished and washed my plate :). Outside I painfully try to keep table manners, impatiently wait others to start, and then finish my food fast and then play around with the last morsel left on the plate waiting for others to finish. This habit helped me after delivery though, as my son always needs to be fed, pee, potty when I sit to eat, I could finish the food in seconds and be at his side :) The bad effect is that waiting for others to finish, I take little more of this and that to chew along with them and I end up eating a lot and so gained weight.
    Seena

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    1. Our eating habits are more a reflection of our nature. We are impatient, get bored easily and always need tons of things to keep us occupied.

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  24. you are such a delight to read ! I hate waiting for others to join me for food. Once the food is on the table - you eat !

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  25. Oh I am the stark opposite ! I eat to live. If someone reminds me to eat, I join. Hesitantly. And it takes hours to eat half a plate of food. My parents had the toughest time in my childhood years getting me to eat something. Anything. However after I grew up, I ate faster due to personal and professional deadlines and also I dint have all the time in the world. Still my disinterest in food continues. Although I can occasionally gorge on my favorite fish curry and rice, normal human beings around me still say that the way I eat doesnt look like it was my favorite food.
    Anyway. My husband is exactly like you. Hates to wait and eats impatiently ! :D

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This amazing permutation and combination of fixing us with a man who has so little in common with us, yet we love him hopelessly.

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  26. I am the same when it comes to food. I won't wolf it down but I can't wait if it is in front of me. Eat, I must !
    Loved it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We are the true connoisseurs of food.

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  27. hmmmm....i did not notice your rushing to eat at the wine meet....but yes i will in the wait category..unless am way too hungry,wherein i politely tell that am a bit hungry so hope they don't mind while i start!!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com


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    1. What a good girl you are, Sush!

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  28. Hehhehh....that really made me laugh! I am such a polar opposite...the food on my plate goes from scalding to room temperature to frigid to finally sprouting roots before I even plunge my fork into it for the first time. I am certain that my mother greyed prematurely primarily because of that!
    Hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You. Don't. Like. Food?

      Damn! I am so terribly disappointed with you, Rickie!

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  29. Usain Bolt of eating! :)))
    Bhodro bor der niye maha mushkil!
    Great post Purba!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Dekho toh! kee punishment, or jonno aar amar jonno?

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  30. I am a slow/fast eater depending on the food served. I can polish off the plate within minutes if the food is great else I can take forever :)

    Nice post as usual!

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    1. True that! if the food is not tasty, I play hockey with it.

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  31. hilarious- you sound like my dad, who wolfs down food like he has to catch a bus everyday, and then complains he ate too much... everyday!

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    1. Hahahaha...the good thing is I get full very easily. In fact, when I see too much of it laid out on the table, my appetite goes for a toss.

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  32. Heehee. Had a bellyful at the post, some of the comments and your responses.

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  33. Fascinating read. Good to learn about your experiments with food. My eating speed depends on the quality of food and number of people eating. If food is good and people are too many, I go fast. If there is not competition for the good food, I go slow and steady.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. When I see unappetizing food, I start running in the opposite direction.

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  34. My husband cannot wait for anyone when he has food in front of him. It doesn't end there... he hates to share his food. If he feels the quantity is less, the frown is visible as well.
    I like to eat like him tool... not caring about anyone. Butttt.. I adhere to more rules. And so, I become the goody two shoes. Lucky are those who don't believe in formalities!

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    1. Don't be! Formalities are meant for strangers and not your loved ones.

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  35. OMG ! Usain Bolt of finishing the meal fast !! haha ... well i am from those stop and take in the pleasure of eating types ! so was amazed to read through your post, which describes why you are the Usain Bolt ! was a nice read ..

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    1. Glad to know that you like to take it slow :-)

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  36. In college days, when dishes were shared, we were forced to attack the food. After all nobody wants to go back to hostel with a half filled stomach.

    These days I still eat fast. However, its not a formula 1 race, more like a kids race.

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    1. You can claim, I've slowed down with age :D

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  37. Sounds so much like me :D at my sister's marraige i was the first to land up to eat all the delicacies...and one of my uncle rebuked me and told me to invite the guests first before eating myself...his logic was hosts should eat later after serving all the guests...but what did i care for such logic.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Naah! as the younger sister you can even get away with murder :D

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  38. Having lived in Japan and Korea for a few years, my husband prefers chopsticks while I can't even handle my knife and fork. And what is with mothers and feeding?
    Delightful post.

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    1. I can finally claim that I am comfortable with chopsticks!

      Maas were born with the sole purpose of loving and over-feeding us.

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  39. Well presented , I also had this habit.

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  40. And I thought I am the only lass with this embarrassing habit .. koto koshto kore ghop-ghopiye khavar habit ta chharachhi :D

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    1. Eesh! I need to try harder :/

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  41. Loved the way you wove the last para.

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  42. Awesome read !! picked up a very nice cartoon :) now that I am too late here ...le me just inform about my attributes on consuming food.. very slow.. i prefer not talking .. unless i need more of something .. and i drink water half an hour after... its always been a routine since I have been programmed this way 4 years back :) I can never drink water while eating... feels like diluting the food uselessly :D

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    1. Yes, that's what I try to do as well. Drink water half and hour after I've finished my meal. But the rest? Nada.

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  43. How i would love to see both of you eating!The description has roused this desire in me.
    As far as i am concerned,i eat dead slow & if you ask me at the end of it which daal it was,i won't be able to tell.Ah yes,ice creams go down very fast--may be they just slide.

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    1. You should see me and my daughter eat together. She insists on having rice with chopsticks!

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  44. Well, I have both habits depending on food :D

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    1. But it makes more sense to have what you don't like at a supersonic speed. Why prolong the agony?

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  45. Purba,

    Caught up with all pending posts. You would know reasons of my not visiting for long time if you have visited my blogspace. Could not open up Hornsutra but what little I read is so true. So that is how Taj came up. I agree that Role Models are not there any more, even parents are not. We do have tendency to talk of our days while speaking to children. Your speaking of pre mobile and credit card days is so right. Faith in God and self is something which we should never let go. We all have tendency to become conscious while being photographed. I also first write on Microsoft Word before copying it as new post, please do tell me if I should discontinue it. Good comparison of house hold work vis-a-vis work outside in Spiderman. Your take on gimmicks of selling products is absolutely right. We need to keep in mind that when we point a finger at someone, other three are pointing at us. Good advice on parenting. Thanks for tips on Bong Beauty, too late of me, of course. LOL. Wot vr u tryng to tll abt gramr? Had a good laugh at this one but makes a lot of sense. You ask guests to have some more and when they say you also have the reply is so hilarious - We have it everyday, as if they do not eat well at their homes.

    Take care

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  46. Sometimes when I'm hungry, I eat like I'm seeing food for the first time, with a very obvious hint of disapproval from mom. When I'm at a social gathering, I try my best not to yield to the wonderful aroma, and wait for atleast one person to start before I start attacking the plate. Some things would never change, despite Ma's periodical glances :-)

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  47. ha! Your description of your mom brought back memories of my didu, ma and mashi! The same characteristic of not eating when the others are, so they can 'serve'; that is torture people by piling on ladlefuls of their ten course meals! We literally had to fall on our plates to stop them from the 'Aar ektu naao!!" My dad was a fast eater until he realized what a mistake it was to sit with an empty plate in front of them! :D

    ReplyDelete
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    1. An empty plate is the shortest route to forced gluttony :p

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  48. Haha.. you have to meet Hobbs! Many moons ago ,as a newly wed ,I made an elaborate dinner and as soon as he came home,I began decorating the garnished works of art on the table.Three out,three took a little longer to appear on the table.By the time ,I came out with the next lot,he had finished his dinner! I learnt very important practical lessons in life that day.We as a family do not believe in waiting business,whatever gets cooked has to be on the table TOGETHER,if it is good,praise will come after the food ,if the plate is not clean,derive your own conclusions etc etc..

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    1. A not so subtle way to show how much he appreciates your cooking :D

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  49. Haha - must've been quite a sight at the dinner table!

    But - what about sushis? You can't gulp them down without pausing for that hint, that subtle touch, that defines the delicate hands behind the small little roll. *stares-straight-into-eyes*

    Incidentally, which wine? Hardy's? Pathooo!

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    1. Daintily picking with chopsticks, dabbing it with just a hint of wasabi...mmmmm...purrfect!

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  50. :D Just chanced upon your blog; lady you are a riot. You've got a new follower :)

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    1. Thank you for the follow :-)

      Delete
  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  52. Well, hands down approach is my favourite as well. Good food should spend less time on the plate!

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  53. Purba ji, i m a bollywood freak and was very amazed when i saw your reply tweet to abhijeetthesinger that you dont follow any bollywoodist on twitter. i was surprised, amazed as it was daring also but i loved you for your that reply. (writing not because i hate abhijeet, i am a die hard fan of him. but this is just a short flashback how you hooked me). than i visited this website. i must appreciate your writing skills mam. you are a wonderful writer. and thanks for the above article. you gave me a good laugh. really !!! keep posting your tweets and other articals on this site. wish more success to you .... a fan of yours.

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    1. Ah, it's because we rarely have anything in common. I prefer following newsworthy and witty tweeters :-)

      And I am glad that you liked my write-up. Thank you so much.

      Delete

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